This year I am extremely proud to be running in the New York City Half Marathon on March 17th on behalf of my father, JD Walker. In 1997, my dad was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a tumor that burrows itself around the nerves connecting your ear to your brain. After a successful invasive surgery that July, a similar tumor, this one attaching to the facial nerve, reappeared in 2010 and was again addressed surgically. This time the surgery was 16 hours and followed by numerous complications including nerve damage. Most recently, in November 2012 the tumor reappeared and this past January my dad underwent gamma-knife radiosurgery. A non-invasive therapy, gamma-knife radiosurgery sends up to 200 beams of radiation to targeted spots within the tumor. Although the individual beams have very little effect on the brain, a large dose, or gray, of radiation is delivered to the pinpoint where all the beams meet. The precision of this ground-breaking technology should result in minimal damage to healthy cells surrounding the tumor, while destroying the (benign) tumor. If he can undergo three brain tumor surgeries and 13 grays of radiation, I can make it through 13 miles.
Seeing the drastic improvements in the treatment of brain tumors over just the past 15 years leaves me incredibly hopeful about what the future will bring. This is why I have partnered with the National Brain Tumor Society and pledge to donate $4,500 by race day. The NBTS is fiercely committed to finding better treatments, and ultimately a cure, for people living with a brain tumor today and anyone who will be diagnosed tomorrow. The NBTS has a rigorous and thoughtful agenda, integrating research and public policy to bridge critical gaps. Starting with discovery science, to clinical trial design and the development of new therapies, there are many opportunities to make improvements and speed the momentum of new findings. I would be exceptionally grateful if you would help me reach my goal and contribute to a cause I feel so strongly about. Any amount you feel comfortable donating is so appreciated and means so much to my family and me. Donations are tax deductible and you will receive a confirmation once complete.
With your help we can build on the progress and get one step closer to conquering brain tumors!
Thank you all so much for your encouragement and unending support!